Camping with Friends in Pederanales Falls State Park,  TX... 11.2022

Day 1 11.28
The sun rises in Texas as I continue the drive I started last night.  

This trips roots began the summer of 2021 when about 20+ women met to ride the rapids on the Colorado river through the Grand Canyon.  Some of us had met before, some had never met.  It was a bonding opportunity--slogging the heavy gear on & off the boats a couple of times a day, all of us peeing in the river next to one another then later cleaning up in the same river next to each other.  We ate great food, chatted, conversed & laughed. Most of us were moved by the scenery, changed by the experience & valued the new friends we made.

The Mother/Daughter duo that had been on the trip, posted on our rarely used group Facebook page that they would be camping in south Texas & put out an open invitation to join them & reunite. One of the women who lived an hour or so away from the chosen camp ground organized a dinner & soon it was a plan & now a trip.  I am so stoked to be seeing these awesome women again & squeezing in one more camping trip before the end of the year.  This would be my shortest trip of the year, but it’s going to be so much fun, I’m sure!

I’d left home yesterday evening, drove until the Texas border then slept for about three hours, then finished the 11 hour drive to arrive at Pedernales Falls State Park, west of Austin.  Peggy & Casey had arrived yesterday, & Telea had also.  Big hugs all around & some visiting this morning…super fun to meet up again & get to know each other better.

After coffee & chats, I went for a 7.5 mile hike to check out the scenery.  It was a good trail…ups & down, with a nice view of the river & surprisingly still some fall colors showing off.  A snake & a few deer was all the wildlife, but I was happy to be on a trail!

Karen, the last of our camping-five, arrived about 5:00pm.  Karen had been the last to join the Grand Canyon trip with only 3 weeks before we took off…that’s pretty badass for such a big trip & she knew no one.  But, we’d soon find out, we both are in Lawrence (well technically, I always say I live in Lawrence, because it’s the town I hang out in & I haven’t been in my own little town in years.  Lawrence is 12 miles from my house & so I claim it…right or wrong.)

We made a joint dinner of quesadillas & fajitas combining what we all had, built a great fire & the laughter, memories & bigger friendships began.

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Day 2 11.29
We took a short but fun little hike this morning right from the campground…we were already having a good time! (Karen in front, me, Telea in back, Casey next to me…where was Peggy?)

Best behaved dogs ever & a smiles from all the hikers too!

Fun little rock slot…the dogs loved it too!

Always watch your step down here!

Peggy had a friend of hers come to the campground to visit today, & they spent the day together.  The four of us drove into town to eat at the local brewery, but soon had to go to Plan B…(long story), so we had burgers & sodas & fueled up.

Karen & I squeezed in a late afternoon 5+ mile hike…great conversation & view of the river.

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The river is low, but still pretty & deep enough to get our feet wet when the trail crossed to the other side.

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Tonight was another campfire…this one with Telea’s propane fire pit (which I fell in love with & checked it out on Amazon) & spent another evening laughing & chatting & really enjoying each other’s company.  We all tucked in early.  Today had been warm & sunny…in the mid-70’s, but tonight the temps would drop & not raise to the same daytime levels tomorrow.

Day 3 11.30
We all gathered around one of the picnic tables with coffee in hand & visited….a wonderful way to start the day!

Another one of our Grand Canyon women organized a dinner in Gruene (pronounced Green) at it’s most favorite restaurant called the Gristmill.  She & three other women from the GC were coming as well as 3 Sisters On The Fly (another women’s camping group that some of us belong to also).  I wanted to explore some of the towns along the hour drive to Gruene, so I left mid morning on my own.  The four & one pup would follow later in the afternoon.  I stopped in Dripping Springs (home of the maker of Deep Eddy Vodka…sadly the tap room was closed) & walked in & out of the few boutiques along Mercer Street.

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Went in & out of a few shops…didn’t even buy a sticker.  There is ALOT of BLING in Texas…but it was fun just checking it all out.

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I passed the cool town of Wimberly with tons of shops & the Blue Hole Park, but I had been here some years ago with another women’s camping event with the Sisters on the Fly, so I didn’t stop this time.

Then I drove on down the two lane road into Gruene.  It’s a cute tiny town…very set up for tourists.  This display was in the General Store.  I did enjoy seeing all the Christmas decorations…might be the only ones I see since I’m not putting any up at the Hill house this year (sad face…no family for another year.  Makes me sort of hate Christmas…but I digress…lets keep this upbeat!)  

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I did stroll through the Toy Store, but I’m done with my Christmas shopping already ….Amazon’s up now just to get it all delivered! (Better than USPS for sure!)

This is the inside of the Gruene Dance Hall (Texas probably has the most dance halls of any state) the oldest Dance Hall in the state.

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No one here yet…but our group would be back after dinner to listen to music!

The Gristmill…Gruene’s most famous resturant.

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The beautiful outside deck of the restaurant overlooking the river.  We ate inside though, but this would be super nice on a day that was just a bit warmer.

Five cleaned up campers ready for dinner!

Karen & Noni…there were smiles all around the table tonight!

Casey & her Mom, Peggy.  So much to be admired in both these fantastic women.  Super interesting & I love to hear about their adventurous lives!

Telea & me….treasured this woman on the river trip & still do!

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Gruene lit up at night.

The dinner table at the Gristmill.  All of us happy campers!

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Eight of us showed up from the GC Girls…really great to see these women again & take a stroll down memory lane.

Cheers all around as we were all so grateful to be together!

Outside this historic dance hall.

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Karen & Carolyn

So. Much. Fun! (Although I don’t think all the swing dancers on the floor appreciated Karen & me doing the twist!)

We were all tired & ready to turn in by the time we made it back to camp.  Karen would be leaving super early in the morning, so hugs went all around & wishes for safe travels AND doing this again—sooner than later!

Day 4 12.1
Karen took off at 5:30 this morning & it’s very chilly here & no sun today.  I decided to use my last batch of wood I bought & built a morning campfire & made coffee.  Casey needed to drive into town early to find wifi so she could work this morning, so Peggy, Telea & I cozied up around the fire & visited.  Telea didn’t want to leave!  But, around 10 or so, she packed up her trailer, & Carly, her super awesome pup & after a bunch of hugs & “hope to see you soon!”, she took off.

I had a wonderful & lovely morning visiting with Peggy & hearing about her life & travel experiences & it was super great!  I eventually took off to the area where the Falls the park is named after are.  

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Casey told me there wasn’t much water here right now at the Falls, but I still wanted to see it.  I was still impressed!  While not much of any “falls”, I really had a great time climbing around on all the rocks.  I hiked way back as far as I could go jumping & climbing to see all the water canals, water holes & the river itself.  For most of my hike, there wasn’t anyone around & definitely no one climbing back on all the rocks…it was quiet & fun & pretty.

Water is super low right now, but still flowing in this spot.

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Beautiful clear water!

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The view from the overlook.

I drove over to the ‘swimming allowed’ area of the river  & hiked down there.  Too cold to swim today for sure!

Trees that have roots that go on forever!

Lots of types of rocks around here.

Love a rock cairn in the middle of the river.

I came back to camp after my little hike & took my first “beer shower”.  Casey told me all about them. She told me “it’s a thing”, but since I have no service here, I couldn’t look it up, but I went with the instructions she gave me & it was great! (Think having a glass a wine & music while taking a bath.)   

Casey, Peggy & I spent the evening with a bit of drizzle coming down, but still outside around a big campfire.  It was super great to get to know these women better…really interesting lives & travels.  We hugged good bye with hopeful thoughts of doing this again sometime & also crossing paths while traveling would be wonderful.

I had already picked up everything from camp (I do this every night…I rarely ever leave anything outside…just my habit), but I scouted around with my headlamp before I tucked into bed, just to double check the site was clean & didn’t forget anything.  It was already beginning to get a warmer as the night wore on….tomorrow was supposed to be back up in the 70’s.

Day 5 12.2
I woke up at 2:30am, but didn’t crawl out of bed until closer to 5:00, drove by the bathrooms on my way out to wash up a bit, then I hit the road going North, North, North.  

Around 3:00, I stopped at the First Man Brewery with plans to meet up with Miki.  I stop when I’m coming through Wichita & she hit’s me up when we’re on the same roads traveling.  I met Miki & her husband while they were on a motorcycle trip out west…at the Grand Teton Brewery in Idaho (lovely place!  Just on the backside of the Tetons & Miki is the 2nd female traveler I’ve met there that I still keep in touch with….the place has good beer & trip magic too!) while we were both sitting on the porch having a beer.  We soon realized we were both trapped in the same icky state.  Miki is about my only friend that lives in Kansas I can commiserate with (but, hey, I’m really happy all my other friends really love living there!).  So, we’ve stayed in touch & love talking travel when we meet up.  And, today was no exception!  She’s just bought a pop up truck camper (the kind Danny want’s now) & has big travel plans both on her motorcycle & in her camper.  Super fun visit!


For more than two hours we visited, then I hit the road for my last bit to get home…about 2.5 hours.  I cranked up my music, sang super loud, & hoped all the deer stayed off the highway & away from my 4Runner.  About 7:30, under super cold & very windy skies, I pulled in the driveway.  My cats were shocked I was back home so soon after I left & it’s true, this was my shortest camping trip in years!  And, super super super sadly, this is my last one for 2022.  

I saw this along the river where swimming is allowed.  Sums up how I feel how meeting & getting to know, these fantastic women better.  Im so grateful for the wonderful experiences I had on the Grand Canyon trip, but this is a big awesome cherry on top to get to reconnect with these lovely adventurous women.  I hope we do it again…sooner than later!

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LaSt sTaTs

It’s been a good year of travel though….but you know me, I always want more!  If my calculations are right, I’ve been gone about 169 days this year.  Camping about 101 of those days!

Let’s hope for more next year.

This is probably my last trip for 2022 as well, unless Santa grants my holidays wishes!

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